So… I’ve had a little time to process the experience so here are my thoughts.

The Jeff Beck tribute shows on May 22nd and 23rd at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
Let me start by comparing the expectation with what actually took place.

I guess the expectation was that it was going to be a big star-studded glittery gala, similar to award shows: with a professional host who would present the artists/guests, a fast pace, lots of glam and glitz, limos, and red carpets. That sort of thing.
Considering the big, legendary names that were on the bill, it wasn’t too far-fetched to assume that.
Well, that’s not what it was.

And perhaps the absence of MTV/Hollywood-ism, was what made this such a heartfelt, true, and genuine, tasteful evening of remembering a friend, a colleague, an inspiration, icon, legend, and extraordinary musician and songwriter.

Earlier in the afternoon on the first day outside of the Royal Albert Hall, I saw a lady walking by, wearing a t-shirt that said “Clapton is God“. Yes, that famous piece of graffiti from back in the day. Clapton is who many consider one of the best guitar players of our time. Yet there he was – just being a humble, almost anonymous member of the band that was backing other guests that were called out on stage.

If I hadn’t known that he was THE Eric Clapton, I would have thought that he was a session player, cause he had no rockstar attitude whatsoever, quite the contrary.

There was no introduction of him or the others in the band. Suddenly the lights went out and two minutes later on again – and there they just were. Nobody was shouting out “Ladies and gentlemen! Please welcome….! [insert celebrity musician name here]”.
None of that. Just low-key, even low-light attitude, because the focus here was 100% Jeff Beck.

People weren’t here to do PR for themselves, which is often the case at tribute shows, they were here to pay their respects in the best way a musician can to another musician. I loved the respectful approach.

I also loved the diversity of artists. Most of them I didn’t know because they are from different genres than I’m familiar with so in that respect I would have wished for more proper introductions because I had to Google for information on who many of these people were.

I found new artists that I now want to explore and get music by. Singers, guitarists, bassists, drummers… I’m still finding out who they all were, but their skills blew me away.
That’s the beauty of this – even if I know absolutely nothing about a musician that I haven’t heard before, their musical wizardry will infatuate me, draw me in, bewitch me, and spellbound me.

One guy walked out on stage and struck the first note on his guitar. ONE note, ONE string… not even a set of notes yet, but the tone and the way he made that guitar sound, made me just sit there and stare eagerly anticipating his next move. That is magic.
That was Gary Clark Jr.

Same thing with this woman who walked in on stage in a spectacular Jessica Rabbit red dress and started singing. GodDAMN, what a cool voice and strong performance. That was Imelda May.

Joss Stone? Don’t even get me started, she is MAGIC! The qualities of Janis Joplin, who would absolutely infatuate any listener and draw them into her emotional world, are very much a part of Joss, who is an absolute vocal goddess.

Another musician who got my attention was Susan Tedeschi. Lovely blues voice and guitarist.

Unbelievable rhythm section drummer Anika Nilles and bassist Rhonda Smith were in a league of their own. Dayyyymmmm! When they took off jamming, only the stratosphere was the limit. Holy crap.

The other keywords of the evening were respect and humbleness. Metallica’s Kirk Hammett was there, but if you hadn’t known about it, you probably would have missed it. It was as if he deliberately made his presence known as little as possible. He would quickly rush across the stage to take his spot in a dark/shady part of the stage if he could find one, where he would stare at his shoes and hide his face behind a hair curtain. It was as if he was signaling “never mind me, I’m not even here“.
Here you have people from the biggest, greatest bands in rock history, and NONE of them was acting like it.

No rock star attitudes anywhere. If anything, everyone stepped back, let the music talk, let Jeff – who was the reason we were all there – would be the main focus, and most of all, everyone had love and respect for each other – across musical styles, gender, age, nationalities, levels of success, whatever – they were all like a family and made all of us who were present that evening, feel like part of the brother- and sisterhood.
No flashy lasers or super-super productions. Just music and love.

To me, that was more than I could have hoped for and it was truly like a spiritual enlightening in a way. I’ve never seen Rod Stewart be so down to earth either, he was born to be a showman, much like his “brother” Ronnie Wood.

And Johnny Depp? I’m sure that he feels love and respect for music, Jeff, and everyone who was on stage those two nights, but honestly, he felt very out of place. It works in Hollywood Vampires, but he’s simply nowhere near the level of 99% of everyone on stage those two nights. Nevertheless, people seemed to enjoy his presence so heck, why not.

So much love in that building two evenings in a row, and so much mutual respect, something you easily forget in today’s competitive and harsh music business environment. This was a friendly reminder that there is another, better way to do things.
Thank you for this lovely tribute. I felt it. Really felt it.

ABBA VOYAGE – are avatars the future of concerts?

An arena built specifically for a next-level hologram show, years of planning, innovation, investments – to bring back what we all thought would be impossible… ABBA. Yes, I just HAD to go see it. If for no other reason, then for the sake of giving something new a fair chance.

I’ve just returned to my hotel after having experienced ABBA – The Voyage and the much talked about ABBA-tars. I’m left with two main impressions:
1. It’s an absolutely mind-blowing, amazing light/laser show and the holograms look so real when you see them a few feet away (I was on the floor in front of the stage). Someone could have told me that they were real and I might have been fooled to believe it. That is, until they appeared on the huge screens. That revealed the digital illusion because no matter how advanced the technology is, you can still tell when it’s a real person moving and when it’s a digital image. The digital images are way too smooth, which gives it away.

The sound is absolute perfection, the lights are amazing, and the avatars are a bit spooky because again – from the right angle your brain is trying to process what it’s actually watching. And there is a live band and singers on stage as well, but you almost forget about them because of all the grandiose other stuff that’s going on.

That being said… This brings me to my second main impression:
This is NOT a concert. It’s more like watching a movie. There is no actual INTERACTION. The magic of a real concert can never be replicated in any other form.

You can watch a show on YouTube or DVD, you can watch a streaming version of a gig, you can bring out avatars, holograms, whatever… but the ONE magic ingredient in a real, face-to-face concert, is INTERACTION. It’s when energy is being exchanged between artists and the crowd – and then ping-ponged back and forth for however long the concert lasts.

I’m talking about eye contact, smiles, winks, the element of surprise, the adoration from the crowd, the fuel that feeds any artist to want to do more, the “receipt” if you will, that he or she is doing something that means something to the fans. Or the fans who feel special if their object of adoration looks at, or in some way acknowledges them.

You simply can’t get that with holograms. There is no interaction whatsoever, it’s a one-sided communication and at times I felt weird applauding the performance because… who was it for? The abbatars can’t see it or hear it, so what is the point of clapping in that context?

Also… The digitalisation has created perfection that takes away from the original imperfections that we know and love. It’s been explained that all 4 members of ABBA created these moves in real life. Well if Frida is THAT agile at 76 years of age, that she can do those high kicks and bent knees-dancing, I’d rather see HER do that in person than the avatar. :D

Agnetha and Frida always had their own dancing style – that slightly awkward, uncoordinated and spontaneous dance, I mean, it was the seventies, and the visual wasn’t as important as it is now.

They would dance together but usually two different dances to fit whatever each of them felt like doing. NOW, they are two Lara Crofts with perfect bodies, perfect futuristic costumes, and wig-like hair that’s way too perfect – dancing like a mix between yoga queens and dancers…

Personally, that takes away their personalities and what made them unique, the reason why some loved the shy, mysterious Agnetha and some preferred the wild and extrovert Frida.

Another thing that felt strange is that Bjorn and Benny both had their instruments, whereas Frida and Agnetha didn’t have microphones in many of the numbers they performed. Just a silly detail, but it should be there to make it more “real”.

Intellectually I’d say that it was a fantastic show in every aspect if you look at it as an interactive performance rather than a concert. They can’t see you, they can’t look into your eyes and feel your energy, they are an illusion and they are not there – obviously.

I’m glad that I saw it, I was open to a new take on concerts and I understand the idea, or at least my interpretation of it.

Some say that they would rather see the real ABBA, but if we’re being honest, we live in a society that’s very shallow where we expect youth, beauty, and perfection. We want to see and hear ABBA the way they looked and sounded in their prime. If they had gone out as themselves there would have been whining about the imperfect voices live or something else.

I know, because in the past few months I’ve gone to Whitesnake’s Farewell tour gigs and a handful of Paul McCartney shows. Fans are complaining on Facebook, disappointed that their heroes can’t do what they used to do, vocally. There is no understanding at all for the voice as an instrument and how it’s affected by time and age. So, this was the right approach for ABBA and it’s a very bold step which I admire.

Will I want to see another hologram show in the future? Probably not. For me, it has to include the magic ingredient, the “Tinker Bell fairy dust” that is the energy between those on stage and those in the crowd. If they can make me believe that you can fake that too, I might reconsider, but for now – go see it for the sake of getting a new perspective on things – and after all, it’s quite a cool show, as long as you’re clear on what it’s all about. :)

She’s always been there to rock

Back in 1988, when I started out as a young rock reporter, writing about hard rock for one of the main evening papers in Sweden, I didn’t know any other girls that shared the same passion. That was to happen later, but up until then, I was “one of the boys”. It was just the normal state of things.

During that time, the era before Internet and e-mails, I used to receive letters from my readers. There was always a big envelope in the editorial office, containing letters, or sometimes, such as when I dared to write something unflattering about Paul Stanley, a big sack full of angry letters. :)
Some of the letter writers stood out because they revealed a genuine curiosity, passion and interest in music, and they would write to comment on articles, suggest bands that should get more attention in the paper or simply to ask for more information on artists whose work they admired. One of those writers was a girl named Ozzie.

She was mainly very passionate about guitar virtuosos, her letters would often mention the likes of Steve Vai, Joe Satriani or Yngwie Malmsteen for instance. I thought it was incredibly cool with a girl who was genuinely into rock for the same reasons as myself.

I don’t remember exactly how we met up, but we started going to concerts. We went to see Skid Row on their tours of Sweden, keeping the costs to a minimum. At one point, another girl who was also going to those gigs, booked a cheap room for one person at the fancy Park Avenue Hotel (it led to Skid Row!) but then a whole bunch of fans, including me and Ozzie, crammed ourselves into that room to get a few hours of sleep. Somebody was in the bed, someone slept in a chair, some on the floor – there were people everywhere.
Another time I remember sleeping on a kitchen table at some girl’s place on one of those Skids-tours. We were young, we didn’t care much about convenience, it was ALL about the concert experience!

In 1992, Ozzie and I went to England for the Monsters of Rock festival at Castle Donington. That was quite an experience. I remember having interviews scheduled left and right and at one point I was double-booked and was supposed to be at two different places at the same time. Blackie Lawless of W.A.S.P was on the interview list in one city while Skid Row were holding a press conference in Nottingham I believe it was, at the same time.

So Ozzie stepped in and did the interview with Blackie. She saved my a** and did a great job.

It was also Ozzie that taught me how to create a web page in the early ’90s when the internet was new and still wasn’t in everyone’s homes. It required html-knowledge and she showed me the basics. She was a bit of a pioneer with that, cause she caught on early on those things. I created my first web page thanks to her tips and tricks and it became a very well visited page in the early days of Internet.

Fast forward to 2021. When life gets in the way, friends also go their separate ways sometimes and we have been busy with our respective lives the past few years but when I read that she had now finished and published her first book, I felt really moved, happy and proud.
The band is lucky to have her do this, because I don’t know anyone who is as thorough as Ozzie, or as passionate and disciplined about something when her heart is all in.

We Came To Rock – The Official Pretty Maids Journals by Ozzie Adenborg is out now. She’s followed the band for a long time. We used to go to their shows back in the day, and then obviously she’s seen many more on her own but it’s such an amazing accomplishment, I can’t wait to read this cover to cover!

She had a book signing today, at a very cool record store in the south of Sweden called Gantofta Skivbörs.
It was great to see her and her “baby”.

The book is in a landscape format rather than the traditional standing format. “I hate it when there’s a great photo in a book and it’s spread over two pages, because it just looks weird. I wanted the entire photo to fit on one page like it’s supposed to be viewed. And most live photos are landscape format so this seemed like the best option“.
See? Why hasn’t anyone thought of that before? It IS annoying with a photo that’s 50/50 on a spread instead of in full on just one page.

It looks fantastic, a great deal of work has been put into this and the result is magnificent!
It’s inspiring to see this and she deserves full attention for this book. I got a copy today and will enjoy reading it now when the dark fall is here. Perfect book-weather!

If you want your own copy, this is where you can get your hands on it:

My own pass from the show pictured in the book above.

We just got our lives back

I’ve been watching the live stream of Global Citizen all evening, coming from London, New York and Paris. Last year, this event consisted of artists who had submitted “from home”-videos, recorded from their back yard, living room or wherever. But there was no actual live event because of the pandemic.

I admired how people find solutions to everything – I thought it was sad in many ways that it had to be that way but the show had to go on.

When I turned it on today, I was met by something I had almost forgotten: CROWDS. Smiling people, singing people, people waving their hands in the air – just people as far as the eye can see. And artists on stage. It feels like the last time I experienced that was in another time and place, like it was a dream.

To be honest, it moved me, I cried a little. We’re through this shit. We are BACK TO NORMAL. It’s such an emotional thing to watch – and when Camila Cabello said, from the NYC stage, that it’s been so long since we’ve been able to gather like this, and that it’s scary for an artist to get on a stage in front of that many people – after so long – I got it.
A concert isn’t happening if it doesn’t consist of the the two most important elements: Artists and their audience.

Many tried streaming concerts in 2020. It just wasn’t the same. There was no exchange of energy, and that’s the whole point with live shows. You can’t recreate them – they must happen face-to-face.

I’m a bit nervous as well. I feel like I may have lost my ability to plan my concert-travels and most of all, I still can’t relax enough to enjoy the process, because there have been so many bumps in the road the past year and a half, that I’m almost afraid of getting too excited about anything.

“What if they close the borders again? What if new rules are made up? What if the show gets canceled? What if?”

I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve felt like a zombie living in a bubble since February 2020. I have existed, but I haven’t LIVED. My whole life is about music. When the pandemic hit, I stopped living.
I didn’t take out any vacation, because… what am I supposed to do with my free time if there is no gig to travel to??

So, to see this now is… huge. Amazing. Fantastic. Unbelievable.

UK announced more simple entry rules for entry from October 4th. The US is finally opening in November. The EU has pretty much been open for months already. Denmark announced the pandemic officially over and has scrapped all Covid-19 rules. Life if back to normal. Norway did the same. Sweden is letting go of most Covid-19 restrictions, and concerts are now allowed again.

I don’t know, it’s like my brain has adjusted to this vacuum after more than a year of sitting at home staring at the wall, this “you can’t go anywhere or do anything” that I’ve told myself that maybe this is how it’s going to be from now on.

But seeing THIS today, made me smile and cry at the same time! F**k this virus and all the misery it brought.

And thank you to all the scientists and doctors who worked tirelessly to get us out of this mess, I credit this to them.



I haven’t blogged in a while, probably because there hasn’t been much to write about in this current Covid-vacuum that we’re living in.
But right now, it’s a few minutes past midnight here in Sweden, and I felt moved and inspired for the first time in ages.

ABBA announced their comeback a few hours ago, released two new songs and videos, presented the new arena that they’re building in London specifically for their avatar-show and just spoke about life and what they’re planning to do next.

To be honest, I didn’t believe that there would be an actual reunion. I thought it would be something much less sensational than what was advertised beforehand, but that they wanted to get everyone’s attention with the ABBA-name.

Frankly, even if they would announce a reunion, I wasn’t sure I wanted to hear it. Frida and Agnetha had two of the most amazing voices in the music business back in their prime. They were second to none. At their age, now, it could get embarrassing I thought. I was an idiot.

When I heard the first few lines of “I still have faith in you“, I thought it was very ABBA-esque and something from another era. But then, much to my surprise, I found myself crying. It freakin’ got me.

This is something that the world needs desperately right now. HOPE. Positivity. Love. Faith in the future. Beauty.
Modest and pompous at the same time, tasteful naivety to replace the cold and harsh cynicism we’ve grown accustomed to in social media and in politics the past few years.

ABBA brought me back to the magic of music, what it can do. Music UNITES. And it’s like they’ve been sent by higher, divine forces right in the nick of time.

And the fact that Bjorn and Benny still have that boyish attitude that anything is possible, is so inspiring.

Let’s just do it. Whatever it is. Oh, you need a special arena to be able to do these hologram shows, and there isn’t one that ticks all the boxes? Well, then let’s BUILD OUR OWN darn arena! Problem solved.

I love people who kick in doors, who think outside the box and go “how do we do this” instead of “we won’t be able to do this“.

Many memories from my childhood came back. At school dances, Abba was a given. We all danced to “Dancing Queen“.
When we drove through Europe to get to Croatia back in those days, I remember I was asked to pick out the music to play in the car. I picked “Voulez-Vous” and it played a zillion times on the way down to Split. Yet, I still love that album.

The first Christmas gift I bought for my own money was Abba’s “The Album“. I bought it for dad cause he was a big fan, but most of all I bought it because I wanted it myself. Two-in-one solution, why not.

It just feels grand. Huge. Somewhere in the stratosphere. Some people breathe music like nobody else. Abba are timeless with their unbelievable melodies.

Sure enough, it’s stuck in my head now too. It’s such a welcome break from all the darkness around us, we just need their light. Lots of it.

Welcome back, Abba!